Kate Genovese, RN, talks to DJ "Little" Walter
Essay by Joe Viglione; interview by Kate Genovese
Rock & Roll fans in Boston know the legendary radio show that is Little Walter's Time Machine, hosted by Deejay Hall of Fame member Walter DeVenne. DeVenne is also a mastering engineer who preserves the sounds the way he - and you - heard them way back when
Along with the re-mastering work and his radio program still in syndication, Little Walter also appears live at nightclubs in the New England region, his memo of June 20, 2013 has this to say about upcoming events:
Hey Rock & Rollers:
First we have Saturday, June 29th at SAYDE'S BAR AND GRILL in Salem NH at 136 Cluff Crossing Road (603 890 1032). Getting there is easy. Take exit 1 off Route 93. Take a right on South Broadway (route 28. Take the first right (street not the Mall) That is Cluff Crossing Road. Sayde's is down the road on the right with plenty of parking in the back. I'm not sure of the time but you can call Sayde's.
Then on Sunday June 30th we're back home at the New England Seafood Rest-Lounge in Methuen from 7 to 10. (978 965 2242) We'll have a ball. See you then, Keep Rockin', Little Walter
RIP BIG JOHN
Walter gives a nod to Big John and Speedo at the end of the missive.
Big John was one of the driving forces at Cheapo Records in Cambridge and Speedo, of course, was from The Cadillacs ( Earl "Speedo" Carroll was the lead vocalist of the group which had the hit entitled "Speedo".) They were close, personal friends of Walters who both passed on recently
Walter DeVenne oversaw the audio for a massive 15 CD boxed set for Bear Family Records in Europe. Street Corner Symphonies:The Complete Story of Doo Wop volumes 1-15
Street Corner Symphonies: The Complete Story of Doo Wop, Vol. 10: 1958 by Various Artists (Oct 23, 2012) - Import
With 30-35 tracks per volume that’s well over 300 songs that Walter had to adjust the audio for including The Shirelles “Dedicated to the One I Love,” the Flamingos “I Only Have Eyes for You,” the Coasters “Charlie Brown,” Dion and the Belmonts “Teenager in Love,” on CD #11, the Platters with “Only You (And You Alone),” on CD 7, Johnny Otis Orchestra with vocal by The Robins, “Turkey Hop, Part 1” and The Shadows “I’ll Never, Never Let You Go” on CD 2, The Ravens, the Swallos, the Orioles, the Larks, the Four Dots and the Four Knights on CD 3 (see a pattern?), Walter lovingly preserves the sounds that he heard while growing up in Medford, Massachusetts while working in record shops and, eventually, radio.
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Street Corner Symphonies: The Complete Story of Doo Wop, Vol. 15: 1963 by Various Artists (Mar 29, 2013) - Import
In my earlier articles on Little Walter's work for Radioworld and The Medford Transcript (Walter and his family lived in Medford, Mass. before moving to New Hampshire) it was noted that DeVenne was diagnosed with cancer in 2005 after cat scans and pet scans discovered lumps in his neck. Afterwards he underwent a successful surgery. More recently Walter was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and survived - given a clean bill of health by the doctors.
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Nurse Kate Genovese, host of Table Talk on Woburn Cable TV and author of three published books (with more to follow), asked Walter about his past and recent recovery, and his plans for the future:
Kate Genovese: Walter, how did they discover the most recent health situation, the pancreatic cancer?
Little Walter: I fell down a flight of stairs and hurt my back bad. I spent about a week at the hospital where they took an MRI and Cat scan and discovered something on my pancreas. After another test where the doctor put a tube down my throat, they found out it was cancer on my pancreas.
Kate Genovese: Did the doctor suggest the Whipple Procedure?
Little Walter: No
Kate Genovese: You still have physical evidence of the previous treatment from the original surgery, but you are still as active as ever. How do you maintain your positive outlook and continue to do your work?
Little Walter: After an operation to remove the "lumps" and about 6 months of Chemo and radiation I was given a clean bill of health in 2007. I beat Cancer! Then I started working again in clubs and put the cancer behind me (for the time being)
Street Corner Symphonies: The Complete Story of Doo Wop, Vol. 7: 1955 by Various Artists (Oct 23, 2012) - Import
______________________________________________________________Kate Genovese: What have the doctors suggested for maintaining your regained good health?
Little Walter: Nothing really. I had the surgery on April 22nd, 2013 . The doctor that did the surgery was Dr. Roger Jenkins. There was a lot of pain in my gut for about a couple of weeks after the operation. The doctor told me to take it easy which wasn't that hard to do because of the pain. I returned to the club scene on May 19th at the New England Seafood Restaurant and Lounge in Methuen. What an oldies party we had---the club was more than packed.
Kate Genovese: What are some of the boxed sets you are most proud of?
Little Walter: The Fats Domino box for Bear Family records out of Germany and the DOO WOP box volume 1 and 2 for Rhino Records. Then there were box sets on Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, the Platters, Jackie Wilson, The Cadillacs (RIP Speedoo), Little Richard and countless others.
KG: With all your work with classic “oldies recordings”, I was wondering if you knew or if you had ever met Dick Clark?
Little Walter: I met him once when I worked at WBCN. What impressed me about him was how tiny he was. Very short.
KG: You were instrumental in the Doo Wop Specials on PBS, could you tell us a bit about them?
Little Walter: I just helped the producers (TJ Lubinski) find some of the members of a bunch of groups and I did some mastering for their CD releases.
KG: We look forward to seeing you in the clubs, Walter, hearing your show on the stations playing it, and listening to some of our favorite recordings as compiled by you with their original sound intact.
Little Walter: Thanks Kate.